Worried about your tax refund being delayed?   Today, the processing of tax returns is mostly automated if you e-file and get refund via direct deposit.  If you want to avoid delays in your tax refund by a short staffed IRS team, make sure your tax return can be automated too.  The three steps to keep your tax return streamlined are:

  1. E-file Tax Return
  2. Direct Deposit tax refund
  3. Review before tax return is filed

Even after the government shutdown is over, the IRS staff will be playing catch up.  That means paper tax returns and tax refunds by mailed check may be delayed, as will human-reviewed returns.  The good news is that most tax professionals today file your tax returns electronically.  How you receive your refund is up to you, but consider this year’s likelihood of a delay. Then make your decision about whether to receive a check in the mail or to receive the tax return by direct deposit. 

Whether you personally prepare your own taxes or have them professionally prepared, you need to review them before submitting your tax return.  If you skip the review step before you e-file your tax return, your return could contain errors that demand human review by a short staffed IRS and lead to delays.    

Things to look for as you review your tax return:  Do you have letters or receipts for all charitable contributions during the year?  Have you included every W-2 for every job in 2018?  Are All 1099 sources of income included?  Use last year’s tax return for comparison to this year’s documents.  It may help you remember missing income or expenses.

Lastly, remember that the IRS will want to process your tax return as quickly as they can.  Make it easier for them by checking your work and sending in a clean tax return for processing.